How did this happen? You used to be so connected, lots of friends, always invited. Where did that network go? Life happens. We get busy, distracted, have family obligations and we just didn’t keep up with all those connections we made way back when. Or perhaps you never built a network. Maybe you preferred to keep to yourself, prioritized your studies over socializing in college. Or maybe you’re new in town. Whatever your reasons for why you now find yourself with a weak and wanting network, you realize how important it is to know the right people now that you’re trying to find work.
When job searching, having someone refer you is always an advantage to getting scheduled for an interview. Don’t despair! Here are 3 steps to create new connections or expand your existing network, however small:
1. Make a list of everyone you know Unless you’ve been hiding under that proverbial rock and have never seen the light of day, chances are you know at least one person out there. It could be a relative, your neighbor or the pizza delivery guy. Think about all those times and places in your life where you crossed paths and built relationships, however fleeting. Think camp, school, religious association, hobby groups, volunteer activities. Create a list of everyone you know. You’ll discover you know more people than you think.
2. Make the connection Once you’ve made your list of every relative, neighbor, teacher, classmate, colleague, acquaintance that you’ve encountered in your life, it’s time to reach out and establish a connection. Be upfront and tell them why you’ve gotten in touch. Tell them you’re ready to join the working class and would appreciate any advice. You’ll be surprised by how many people out there are happy to help. Try the opening line, “it has been too long.”
3. Make time to socialize Leverage the power of social media. Social media networks like Facebook and more suitably, LinkedIn, can help you connect with people who share your hobbies or work in your field. Connect to people by joining groups with interests similar to yours. Comment on group posts. Join the conversation! While it is possible for you to get a job interview despite not knowing anyone to help you get your foot in the door, you’ll still need to provide the company with either a professional or personal reference who they will call to confirm to see if you are who you say you are. Whether you’re job-hunting, trying to lock in a job offer, or just starting at your new company, you should be continually expanding your network. Remember, it’s not who you know but who knows you. You’ll find success, both professionally and personally, when you master the art of relationship networking.